Expectation and Resentment
Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them . . . Matthew 15:30
As my children have grown older, we have more drivers, which means we have more vehicles, which means we need more parking space. So, I’ve done a fair amount of work this summer to create more parking. If everyone parked exactly as I’ve planned, everything would work out. When I get home though, and everyone isn’t parked perfectly, and my vehicle won’t quite fit, I get irritated. I know it’s a stupid thing to get upset about, but when my expectations are unmet, I become resentful.
Most of us are familiar with this. No matter how unfair or unrealistic it is, we have expectations of others and when those expectations aren’t met, we become bitter and angry.
I’ve done this with God. When I read passages like today’s, in which Jesus miraculously heals the multitudes, I develop an expectation that this is how Jesus works. Then, I go to God, expecting the same. OK, God. This is how you did it in the olden days. I’m ready for my miracle now. Just make this problem go away – right now. When I don’t get the answer I expect, I feel cheated. You did it for them. You owe me. My ridiculous expectations become ridiculous resentments.
Again, most of us have been here. We’ve asked God for some intervention – like the ones we’ve read about – but we don’t get the miracle, and so we become frustrated with him. Why don’t you answer me? Don’t you love me? Are you even there?
In working through my own addiction – and my frustration over the lack of an instant fix – I’ve had to accept that my resentments are unreasonable and absurd. When I step back and ask if one of us is wrong – me or God – the answer is never God. The truth is, if I want to grow in faith and recovery, I must surrender my irrational expectations and resentments. God is not unfair or unloving. It’s my self-centered view of the world that makes demands of God. If I want to know him, and if I want to experience true life, joy, and peace, then I must submit to him, accepting that he is in control, and I am not.